Today we cruised the Main River, mirror-still under sunny skies, headed for Miltenberg, where we took the included walking tour.
We’ve entered a region where almost every place name includes berg (hill/mountain) or burg (fortress). Not every berg is topped by a burg, but virtually every burg is located on a berg.
Our morning was spent simply sailing and relaxing on the sunniest and warmest day we’ve had yet. What a glorious autumn it is here! The water was completely still, giving Ted some great photography opportunities.
We often go through locks at night, but this morning sat out on the deck of the ship watching our progress through several. In total, this itinerary takes us through 68 locks, 16 of which are in a single canal that will begin in Bamberg, which we’ll reach in a couple of days.
And then we arrived in Miltenberg, a city filled with stunning half-timbered houses.
Those arriving by boat are greeted by a statue of three mischievous boys, reminding us that in the Middle Ages,the Main River was the city’s latrine as well as a commercial waterway.
As is the case in many German cities, we came across Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) commemorating victims of Nazi persecution. We also walked past Miltenberg’s Jewish cemetery, attesting to,the Jewish population here from the 15th to 20th centuries.
One of the places we stopped was a wine cellar carved into the mountain. On the way out, I bought a bottle of local wine in the iconic Franconian bottle shaped called a “bocksbeutel”, the flattened ellipsoid that is supposed to look like the “ram”s scrotum” that was used in the 15th century as a wine flask.
We were introduced to Guntram, the town’s quirky resident artist whose propensity for painting buxom nudes, while himself wearing only lederhosen hotpants, has become something of a modern legend in Miltenberg.
Before returning to our ship for the evening’s reception for Viking Explorer Society members (one woman on our ship was taking her 11th Viking cruise!), we stopped at the Hotel Zum Riesen, the oldest operating hotel in Germany, established in 1411.
Another amazing day completed.
Tomorrow, we head off onto Bavaria’s famous “Romantic Road”.